Efforts continue to restore India-Bangladesh rail linksJune 10th, 2011 - 5:33 pm ICT by IANS
Agartala, June 10 (IANS) Restoration of all pre-1965 railway connectivity between India and Bangladesh remains undecided despite talks of revival, but efforts are continuing, Indian officials said here Friday.
“There were seven old rail links between the two neighbours. Currently only three are operational between India’s West Bengal and Bangladesh,” Railway Board executive director (traffic) S.K. Das told reporters here.
He said: “Due to poor traffic, non-viability and various other reasons several railway connections between India and Bangladesh had been suspended.”
There were seven railway connections in between India’s West Bengal and Assam and Bangladesh. The services were suspended after the 1965 India-Pakistan war when Bangladesh was Pakistan’s eastern wing.
However, subsequently, three railway connections were restored.
During his recent visit to Dhaka, Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma had stressed the need to restore all railway links in a bid to enhance people-to-people contact and boost bilateral trade.
Bangladesh High Commissioner to India Tariq Ahmed Karim, who recently visited several northeastern states, said that all the lost rail, road and waterways connections must be reopened.
“All linkages that had existed prior to 1965 will be reopened, and we will restore the lost infrastructure in three-four years,” he said while addressing a number of seminars and discussions.
A high level inter-ministerial team of the Indian government, led by Railway Board additional member B.N. Rajsekhar, Thursday visited the proposed construction site of a 15-km railway track linking Tripura capital Agartala with Bangladesh’s southeastern city of Akhaurah.
Das, a member of the inter-ministerial team, said: “India would lay the 15-km link railway track at a cost of Rs.267 crore. The project is expected to be completed by 2014.”
Of the 15-km link with the Bangladesh railway network through Gangasagar and Akhaurah railway stations, five-km track falls in the Indian territory.
The official said: “With the establishment of the new railway link, northeast India would be connected to the Chittagong international sea Port in Bangladesh through railway.”
The rail link between Agartala and Akhaurah is being set up as per the agreement between Indian Prime Minister manmohan Singh and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina during Hasina’s visit to India in January last year.
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Tags: anand sharma, assam, bilateral trade, board executive director, gangasagar, india pakistan war, indian commerce, indian government, indian officials, industry minister, karim, ministerial team, northeastern states, proposed construction, railway board, railway connections, railway network, railway track, southeastern city, west bengal